Kenya’s former Prime Minister Raila Odinga is taking a break from the political campaigns to tour of the United Kingdom from Sunday March 13, 2022.
The tour will see him meet senior UK government officials, give talks and meet Kenyans living in the UK, according to his Press Secretary, Dennis Onsarigio.
“Mzee (Mr Odinga) will give a talk on democracy in Africa. The people know his credentials in democracy and he is also very keen on governance,” said Mr Onsarigo in a statement.
His advance team, which left on Saturday shortly after the Jacaranda Grounds rally, is already in London.
“This is a heavy working trip for him,” Mr Onsarigo added.
The delegation comprises of former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth, Governors Hassan Joho (Mombasa), Charity Ngilu (Kitui), Lee Kinyanjui (Nakuru) and Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega), Siaya Senator James Orengo and Suna East MP Junet Mohamed.
Also in the entourage is Ben Agina, Mr Odinga’s advisor on international affairs and diaspora engagement.
The schedule indicates that Odinga will be meeting with the UK Minister of Armed Forces James Heappey on Tuesday
Media interviews are also lined up on the same day before a meeting with UK Prime Minister’s trade envoy to Kenya Theo Clarke at the Westminster.
On Wednesday, Mr Odinga will be meeting Lord Tarif Ahmad, the UK Minister for South Asia, North Africa, the United Nations and the Commonwealth at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). He will also give a talk at the Chatham House Thinktank.
Later in the evening, he will be at the Emirates Stadium to watch the football match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool, according to the official schedule.
Mr Odinga will then meet with the Arch Bishop of Canterbury Justin Welby on Thursday at Lambeth Palace, which is his official residence. On the same day, he will meet with Kenyans living in the UK.
However, Mr Onsarigo says that even though Mr Odinga’s schedule in the UK mirrors that of Mr Ruto, their organisations and outcomes are different.
“Mr Odinga’s democratic credentials in Africa are known. I am not sure you can say the same with the DP. So these tours will be quite different,” he said.
Upon return, Mr Odinga will be hitting the road again as he carries on with his campaigns. This will include unveiling the Vijana na Raila Brigade and an expanded Azimio Mtaani team with new members from Azimio la Umoja constituent parties.
Odinga’s trip to the UK comes days after similar one by Deputy President William Ruto, who is also among the forerunners in the quest to become the 5th President of Kenya. The DP also met government officials, the Arch Bishop of Canterbury and also gave a talk at the Chatham House. Before that, he was in the United States for a week where he had various engagements.